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Last Updated on October 31, 2018

15 Signs Of Negative People

15 Signs Of Negative People

Lack of confidence, gloom and doom, distrust, and anxiety are a toxic cocktail mix. You probably wonder how one person can survive with all that inside them! Yet, these negative people exist all around us and are impossible to avoid.

This is not to say that you will never have moments of despair, anxiety and discouragement. But as a positive person, you never let these thoughts take over your life. You live the four-to-one ratio: You generate four positive thoughts for every negative one, to keep situations from getting out of hand.

Below, you’ll find 15 signs of negative people, and see what makes them tick. You’ll discover why many people are unaware of their negativity and how it is ruining their lives – and everyone else’s. These warning signs will also teach you to be on the alert so that you can avoid falling into the black hole of negativity.

The 15 signs of negative people:

1. They always worry

Negative people survive on worry – a very unhealthy diet. This mindset is geared towards the need to feel protected and aware to an extreme degree. Practising mindfulness and staying in the present are great ways to squash worry.

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 “Whatever is going to happen will happen, whether we worry or not.” – Anna Monnar

2. They try to tell you what to do

When people start to tell you what you should do with your life, what house to buy or whether you should change your job, you can be sure they are in the negative squad. They do not realize it but this is a sure sign that they have not sorted out their own life issues. It is much easier to tell everyone else how to live their lives!

3. They live in the default position

There is a neurological explanation as to why some people end up being so negative. It has to do with the part of the brain called the amygdala, which functions as an alarm and is constantly on the look out for danger, fear and bad news. Scientists believe this to be the brain’s default position. In evolutionary terms, this is understandable; it is all part of the fear-flight mechanism in which the brain uses most of its neurons to keep up with all the bad news that is stored in the memory.

Positive people develop an ability to evaluate and face up to problems which can counteract this mechanism.

4. They enjoy secrecy

If you meet a negative person at a party, you may find the conversation rather tedious. Fearful of revealing too much information about themselves, they live in fear that doing so would be used against them in some way. They rarely think that what they share could be used in a positive light.

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If you find yourself becoming defensive and closed during conversation, think about possible reasons why.

5. They are pessimists

My mother was the world’s greatest pessimist. Spotting menacing clouds on the way to the beach, she would invariably say that the best of the day had gone. (I cannot remember any downpours when we had to return home.)

Negative people rarely envisage a happy outcome or great result. They always imagine that everything will go wrong.

6. They cannot limit their exposure to bad news

Negative people love coming into your cubicle and saying things like, “Have you heard the terrible news about….”, after which they fill you in on all the gory details. The tragedy is that overexposure to negative news affects a person more deeply than was previously thought. Research has shown that media exposure to violence, death and tragedy contributes to depression and anxiety, as well as to post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). It colors a negative person’s outlook on life.

That is why you should limit the amount of news you watch on television and on your PC. Difficult? Perhaps. But essential if you are to remain positive.

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7. They have very thin skin

Those who are negative are likely to be over sensitive to criticism, even taking compliments the wrong way. They interpret innocent remarks as being condescending or rude. For example, a negative person may find jokes about short people offensive because they are not very tall themselves.

8. They complain a lot

Negative people tend to whine a lot, convinced that the whole world is against them. They are usually the victim of lousy weather, a difficult boss, bad luck, and their upbringing. They rarely step back to look at other factors – such as a lack of energy, creativity or simply hard work.

9. They never move outside their comfort zone

Moving outside the familiar world is anathema to those who are negative. They cannot face the possibility of more fear, discomfort, challenges or failure. They are thus never able to try out new experiences and are doomed to dwell in their dull and dreary comfort zone.

10. They love the word ‘but’

A negative person might say something positive or even compliment you on your great cooking. They might be happy to find themselves on the beach or in a restaurant. The only problem: They finish their remarks with the ‘but’ word, turning this positive into a negative. You get remarks like “It looks like a great restaurant but I wonder why you didn’t book a table outside” or “It’s a lovely beach but there are always too many people around.”

11. They are underachievers

Lack of success could be due to many factors, but negativity is a main cause. Negative people usually think they are not smart enough, athletic enough, or good enough. But the real threat to their success is that their emotional intelligence is crippled by their often critical and confrontational manner. Additionally, they will regale you with stories of how difficult people were, how they would never collaborate and how  impossible it was to get anywhere with them.

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If they had been just a bit more positive, you think, they might have got somewhere!

12. They never get excited about future projects

Have you noticed that those who are negative can never talk about future plans or projects in a positive way? Actually, they rarely talk about plans at all because they are too wrapped up in their present misery. As a positive person, you have dreams. You have projects and visions of what your future will be like. You are on an open highway while they are stuck in a dark tunnel.

13. They become energy vampires

In addition to being demanding, negative people suck out all your energy, just like a vampire. They are simply incapable of producing any positive energy and will absorb your attention, time, and energy as they proceed to drag you down the negativity spiral.

14. They miss out on the good things of life

A negative person will hardly recognize joy, passion, contentment and excitement. These are not emotions or sensations that they regularly experience.

Of course, this is hardly surprising when considering these persons are fixated on their unsatisfying jobs, relationships and social status.

15. They put a negative spin on good news

You are excited to share great news about your dream job, engagement or a new house. But when you want to tell a negative person, you hesitate. Why? You know that they will always find a way to make it sound negative. They will caution you to be careful, warn you of the dangers and tell you to think carefully before accepting.

The best way to deal with all this negativity is to thank your lucky stars that you are positive and that you have overcome most of the negativity in your life. The more negative a person is, the happier you can be that you are not like them – and you will be extra careful about getting caught in their web.

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Robert Locke

Author of Ziger the Tiger Stories, a health enthusiast specializing in relationships, life improvement and mental health.

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Last Updated on April 11, 2019

How to Improve Communication Skills for Workplace Success

How to Improve Communication Skills for Workplace Success

Possessing strong communication skills will help you in every phase of your life. This is especially true in the workplace.

I have personally worked with several leaders who were masters of communication. A few were wonderful speakers who could tell a great story and get everyone in the room engaged. Those of us in attendance would walk away feeling inspired and eager to help with what came next. Others were very skilled at sharing a clear direction and job expectations.

I knew exactly what was expected of me and how to achieve my goals. This was the foundation of an energized and vibrant role I was in. What I have found is strong communication skills are incredibly helpful and sometimes critical in how well we perform at work.

Here we will take a look at how to improve communication skills for workplace success.

How Communication Skills Help Your Success

Strong communication skills pave the way for success in many ways. Let’s look at a few of the big ones.

Create a Positive Experience

Here are two examples of how well developed communication skills helps create a positive experience:

When I first moved to the city I now live in, I began a job search. Prior to my first live interview, I was told an address to go to. Upon arriving at the address provided, I drove around and around attempting to find the location. After 15 minutes of circling and looking for the address, I finally grabbed a parking spot and set out on foot.

What I discovered was the address was actually down an alley and only had the number over the door. No sign for the actual company. The person that gave me those very unclear directions provided a bad experience for me.

Had they communicated the directions to get there in a clear manner, my experience would have been much better. Instead the entire experience started off poorly and colored the entire meeting.

As a recruiter, I frequently provide potential candidates with information about a job I’m speaking to them about. In order to do this, I also provide a picture of the overall company, the group they might be joining, and how their role fits in and impacts the entire company.

Time and time again I have been told by candidates that I have provided the clearest picture of a company and role they have ever heard. They have a positive experience when I clearly communicate to them. Even when the position does not work out for them, often times they will want to stay in touch with me due to the open communication and beneficial experience they had during the interviewing process.

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Strong communication skills will provide a positive experience in virtually any interaction you have with someone.

Help Leadership Skills

It’s certainly a skill all its own to be able to lead others.

Being a mentor and guiding others towards success is a major hallmark of great leaders. Another characteristic of effective leaders is the ability to communicate clearly.

As I referenced above, having a leader who can plainly articulate the company’s mission and direction goes a really long way towards being the Captain of the boat that others want to follow. It’s like saying “here’s our destination and this is how we are going to get there” in a way that everyone can get on board with.

Another critical component of everyone helping to sail the boat in the right direction is knowing what your portion is all about. How are you helping the boat move towards its destination in the manner than is consistent with the leaders’ vision?

If you have a boss or a manager that can show you what it takes for not only you to be successful, but also how your performance helps the company’s success then you’ve got a winner. A boss with superior communication skills.

Build Better Teams

Most of us work in teams of some sort or another. During the course of my career, I have led teams up to 80 and also been an individual contributor.

In my individual contributor roles, I have been part of a larger team. Even if you are in business for yourself, you have to interact with others in one manner or another.

If you have strong communication skills, it helps to build better teams. This is true whether you are in an IT department with 100 other fellow programmers or if you own your own business and have customers or vendors you communicate with.

When you showcase your robust ability to communicate well with others while interacting with them, you are building a better team.

Now let’s jump in to how to improve communication skills to help you pave the way for your workplace success.

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How to Improve Communication Skills for Workplace Success

There are many tips, tricks, and techniques to improve communication skills. I don’t want to overwhelm you with too much information, so let’s focus on the things that will provide the biggest return on your time investment.

Most of these tips will be fairly easy to become aware of but will take time and effort to implement. So let’s go!

1. Listen

Ever heard the saying you have two ears and one mouth for a reason? If you haven’t, then here’s the reason:

Being a good listener is half the equation to being a good communicator.

People who have the ability to really listen to someone can then actually answer questions in a meaningful way. If you don’t make the effort to actively listen, then you are really doing yourself and the other person a disservice in the communication department.

Know that person who is chomping at the bit to open his or her mouth the second you stop talking? Don’t be that person. They haven’t listened to at least 1/2 of what you’ve said. Therefore the words that spill out of their mouth are going to be about 1/2 relevant to what you just said.

Listen to someone completely and be comfortable with short periods of silence. Work on your listening skills first and foremost.

2. Know Your Audience

Knowing your audience is another critical component to having strong communication skills. The way you interact with your manager should be different than how you interact with your kids. This isn’t to say you need to be a different person with everyone you interact with. Far from it.

Here is a good way to think about it:

Imagine using your the same choice of words and body language you use with your spouse while interacting with your boss. That puts things in a graphic light!

You want to ensure you are using the type of communication most relevant to your audience.

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3. Minimize

I have lunch with a business associate about 3 times a year. We’ve been talking for several years now about putting a business deal together.

He is one of those people that simply overwhelms others with a lot of words. Sometimes when I ask him a question, I get buried beneath such an avalanche of words that I’m more confused than when I asked the question. Needless to say this is most likely a large portion of why we never put the deal together.

Don’t be like my lunch business associate. The goal of talking to or communicating with someone is to share actual information. The goal is not to confuse someone, it’s to provide clarity in many cases.

State what needs to be stated as succinctly as possible. That doesn’t mean you can’t have some pleasant conversation about the weather too.

The point is to not create such an onslaught of words and information that the other person walks away more confused than when they started.

4. Over Communicate

So this probably sounds completely counter intuitive to what I just wrote about minimizing your communication. It seems like it might be but it’s not.

What I mean by over communicating is ensuring that the other person understands the important parts of what you are sharing with them. This can be done simply yet effectively. Here’s a good example:

Most companies have open enrollment for benefits for the employees in the fall. The company I work for has open enrollment from November 1 to 15. The benefits department will send out a communication to all employees around October 1st, letting them know open enrollment is right around the corner and any major changes that year. There’s also a phone number and email for people to contact them with any questions.

Two weeks later, we all get a follow up email with basically the same information. We get a 3rd communication the week before open enrollment and another one 1 day before it starts.

Finally we get 2 emails during enrollment reminding us when open enrollment ends.

There’s minimal information, it’s more of a reminder. This is effective over communication.

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5. Body Language

The final critical component to how to improve communication skills for workplace success is body language. This is something most of us have heard about before but, a reminder is probably a good idea.

When I am in a meeting with someone I am comfortable with, I tend to kind of slouch down in my chair and cross my arms. When I catch myself doing this, I sit up straight and uncross my arms. I remember that crossing arms can many times be interpreted as a sign of disagreement or conflict.

In general, the best rule of thumb is to work towards having open body language whenever possible at work. This means relaxing your posture, not crossing your arms, and looking people in the eye when speaking with them.

When you are speaking in front of others, stand up straight and speak in a clear voice. This will convey confidence in your words.

Conclusion

Possessing strong communication skills will help you in many facets of your life and most certainly in the workplace.

Good communication helps create better teams, positive experiences with those we interact with, and are critical for leadership.

There are numerous tactics and techniques to be used to improve communication skills. Here we’ve reviewed how to improve communication skills for workplace success.

Now go communicate your way to success.

More Resources About Effective Communication

Featured photo credit: HIVAN ARVIZU via unsplash.com

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